Heuriger - Traditional Wine Taverns in Austria

19.04.2019, Elena Paschinger

In Austria, a “Heuriger” is an establishment and a prominent cultural feature. The traditions revolving around these places have endured over several centuries. In 1784, Austrian Emperor Joseph II issued a decree that permitted all residents to serve self-produced wine. This was the legal foundation the traditional wine taverns called “Heuriger”.

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Toast at the Heuriger  | © Urlaub am Winzerhof / Ralph Fischbacher

A Tradition Lasting Since Imperial Austria

In Austria, a “Heuriger” is an establishment and a prominent cultural feature. The traditions revolving around these places have endured over several centuries. In 1784, Austrian Emperor Joseph II issued a decree that permitted all residents to serve self-produced wine. This was the legal foundation for the traditional wine taverns called “Heuriger”. “Heuriger”, actually an abbreviation of “heuriger Wein” (“this year’s wine”), is the name of this year’s vintage as well as the tavern itself. The latter is also called “Buschenschank”. Over the years, it has become common to call the cosy wine taverns “Buschenschank” in Styria and “Heuriger” in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. Depending on the region, different food is served. A buffet-style snack is typical for the taverns in Vienna and surroundings, whereas in other areas, you can choose wine and home-made dishes from the menu.

A characteristic feature of these traditional wine taverns: The owners are only permitted to sell home-made drinks and cold food. You can always be sure that you’ll get to enjoy only wine from this specific winery and local culinary delights. If the proprietors have registered a trade, they are also allowed to serve warm food and drinks that they have bought elsewhere. However, you won’t find beer on the menu in a “Heuriger”.

Come In, We’re Open!

There are a few signs that tell you if the wine tavern is open: It’s customary to attach an elaborately decorated bouquet made from brushwood or straw and sometimes also a lamp at the entrance. This feature and happy chatter from the courtyard guides the way to the nearest “Heuriger” and tells you: Come in, we’re open!

Once you’re there, one of the best moments is the joyful anticipation of the snack and the glass of wine that’s about to be served. Those who don’t want to drive home afterwards and would like to explore the region can stay at the vineyard. Here, you can not only immerse yourself in the local culture but also get to know life on a traditional farm. There are plenty of opportunities for excursions, for interesting talks with the farmers & winegrowers and for visiting exciting events.

A Seal of Quality for Premium Wine Taverns

In Lower Austria, premium wine taverns are awarded a special seal of quality called “Top-Heuriger”. It guarantees locally sourced produce of premium quality, award-winning home-made wines and ciders, a large variety of food on the menu and a professional service including quality workshops for the host family. You can have a look on the website and look for the nearest “Top-Heuriger”, subscribe to the newsletter and browse through the event calendar. Simply have a look here: https://www.top-heuriger.at (in German).

A lot of wine taverns are in an idyllic setting. Set out on a country walk through the vineyard, take a romantic walk or snack on ripe grapes.

 

You can find the largest amount of “Heurige” in the Danube region near Krems and in the wine regions Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal and Traisental.

Are You Looking for a Specific Wine Tavern?

On the website “Heurigenkalender Niederösterreich”, all of the wine taverns in every municipality are listed in alphabetical order. It also features an interactive map.

Find out more about “Heurige” in Burgenland

Find out more about “Heurige" in Styria

Elena Paschinger
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